Over the years, many top professional and amateur bodybuilders have consulted with me – most of them in peak muscular shape . Still, they come to Cincinnati, Ohio, to learn techniques that will further refine their physiques. Most people, upon seeing a top-level bodybuilder, would feel that such athletes are flawless. Why would they even need help — at this pin-nacle in their development? Plus, what kind of help could possibly transform their already near-perfect bodies?Regardless of your level of training and development, you can still improve your physique, and that applies to anyone. Let’s face it, we’re all “works-in-progress.”People who observe my one-on-one work with champions are amazed that I can find flaws in the most highly trained physique. Having worked with bodybuild-ers and judging bodybuilding contests for three decades have sharpened my ability to scrutinize physiques. There are some things I can see with my eyes; others, I have to test. Admittedly, I’m looking for flaws, and I’m critical. But bodybuilders don’t come to me for praise; they get that from the fans.
They come to me because they know I’ll give them an honest evalu-ation of their physiques, and more impor-tantly, that I’ll teach them how to become even better. Through it all, they learn that even a minor change in one variable — be it nutrition, supplementation, or training — can make a major change in the way they look and perform.To a degree, bodybuilding is an activity of trial and error. You try umpteen diets, exercises, routines, always searching for that one formula that will magically trans-form your physique. But if you follow the principles that we espouse at Parrillo Performance, your search will be over. You can achieve your best shape ever. To understand how, here are 4 “secrets” get you started:Secret #1: Gain muscle by manipu-lating carbohydrate intake.When trying to gain muscular weight, you want a higher bodily level of the hormone insulin, which regulates carbo-hydrate metabolism by helping to usher glucose into cells for energy. Interest-ingly, insulin is also involved in muscu-lar growth because it transports certain amino acids into muscle cells. To make this happen, you need carbohydrates. The key, however, is eating the right kinds of carbs, in the right amounts.
The right carbs are the natural ones, such as brown rice, yams, sweet potatoes, whole grain cereals, potatoes, and the like. By con-trast, simple sugars and refined carbohy-drates are rapid-release foods that trigger too much insulin release . This process results in the accumulation of body fat. Accordingly, you should increase your carbohydrate intake, perhaps as high as 400 to 500 grams or more a day. One way to do this is by taking a carbohydrate sup-plement such as Parrillo ProCarb, which is formulated with the complex carbohy-drate maltodextrin. Secret #2: Burn body fat by ma-nipulating protein and carbohydrate intake.To lose body fat, decrease insulin but increase another hormone – glucagon – which helps unlock fat stores. You can do this by eating slightly less carbohydrate and more protein. A good rule of thumb is to adjust your carbohydrate-to-protein ratio to between 1 to 1 or 1.5 to 1. One problem with reducing carbohydrate in-take is the potential decline in energy levels. To compensate, try supplementing your diet with CapTri, our medium-chain triglyceride oil (better known as MCT oil).
This is a special type of lipid that provides quality calories and, unlike con-ventional dietary fats, is not likely to be stored as body fat.Secret #3: Achieve muscular hard-ness with ample protein.Protein, because of its role in supplying amino acids for growth and repair, is the key to muscular hardness. Which brings up a key question: How much protein do you actually need?The National Research Council sets the recommended daily allowance (RDA) at 0.8 grams per kilograms of body weight a day — the equivalent of 0.36 grams per pound of body weight a day. Based on the RDA, a 200-pound bodybuilder would require a mere 72 grams of protein a day — the equivalent of three tiny chicken breasts. Unfortunately, the RDA was es-tablished with average, sedentary people in mind — not athletes.Other methods, based on nitrogen bal-ance studies, are now being used to de-termine the protein requirements for ath-letes. Nitrogen balance means that the body is rebuilding at the same rate of breakdown. If tissue breakdown is faster than tissue build-up, you’re losing more nitrogen than you get from food.
This state is called negative nitrogen balance, and it’s often induced by restrictive diet-ing. If less nitrogen is eliminated than is taken in, you’re in a positive nitrogen balance, indicating the growth of new muscle tissue. Nitrogen balance studies indicate that the protein requirement for athletes may be 23 to 178 percent greater than the average population.Recent research indicates that weight-training athletes need greater amounts of protein. In one study, for example, 10 weight lifters trained intensely and con-sumed 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day. Four of these athletes were found to be in negative nitrogen balance.(1 )In another study, weight lifters who increased their protein intake from 1.0 to 1.6 grams per pound of body weight a day were able to increase both strength and lean mass. Two other studies, both involving bodybuilders, found that eat-ing 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight produced greater nitrogen retention than consuming 0 .45 grams per pound of a body weight a day.(2)Clearly, bodybuilders and other athletes must include ample protein in their diets to promote muscular fitness. Individual pro-tein needs vary and depend on a number of factors, including your training intensity and level of conditioning.
I’ve seen many bodybuilders improve their physiques by increasing their protein intake up to 2.5 grams per pound of body weight a day — nearly seven times the RDA. Without an adequate intake of protein, you won’t be able build or repair muscle. But if you consume too much, the ex-cess could be stored as fat. Based on my experience, hard training bodybuilders can achieve excellent results — including muscular hardness — by consuming 1.25 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day. One gram per pound of body weight should come from lean pro-tein sources such as white meat poultry, fish, and egg whites; the other .25 to .5 gram per pound of body weight, from all your other foods, particularly high-protein vegetables like beans, corn, and legumes.Secret #4: Regulate development by controlling hormonal reactions natu-rally.Along with nutrition, exercise is one of the best ways to control the fat-burning and muscle-building actions of certain hormones produced by the body, namely adrenaline, testosterone, and growth hor-mone (GH).
To illustrate how these hormones help you lose body fat, let’s start with adrena-line. When you work out, adrenaline is released, and it heads directly to fat cells. There, it sparks a chemical reaction, acti-vating a special enzyme that breaks down stored fat into fatty acids. The fatty acids leave the fat cell, enter the bloodstream, and are carried to muscle cells to be used for energy. Testosterone is a male hormone that seems to speed up the rate at which protein is used for muscle growth. Intense weight training triggers the production of testos-terone. Concentrations in the blood start to climb, reaching peak levels 30 minutes into training. To take advantage of this increased testosterone level, you can per-form highly intense training sessions us-ing heavy, low-rep work for a duration of 30 to 60 minutes .Growth hormone (GH) is the most powerful growth-producing substance in the human body. Part of the reason is that GH helps ferry certain essential amino acids into muscle cells. GH also has a “li-polytic” effect, which means it mobilizes body fat from storage sites and increases its use for energy. GH is probably the most important hormone for bodybuild-ing because of its dual involvement in building muscle and burning fat.There are several things you can do to naturally increase your GH levels.
First, follow a diet that contains adequate pro-tein (1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight). A high-protein meal increases GH release .(3) Second, consider supplementing your diet with certain ami-no acids. The most effective oral combi-nation for GH release is arginine pyro-glutamate and lysine monohydrochloride, which is found in our GH Releasers. This is typically taken at bedtime and in the morning, always on an empty stomach.Finally, train “smart.” High-repeti-tion work with moderate poundages has been shown in research to stimulate GH release. Given that heavy low-rep work maximizes testosterone release and high-rep work triggers GH release, you can design a routine that takes advantage of these hormonal processes .For example, incorporate heavy pyra-mid sets and exhaustion sets into the same training session. Start with one or two warm-up sets with about 15 reps each. Then select a poundage you can handle with proper form for 10 reps. Continue increasing the weight and do sets of eight, six, and four reps. Next, decrease the weight and perform an exhaustion set of 20 reps to failure. Exhaustion sets help pump blood into the muscle and stimulate GH release .
1. Celejowa I. and Homa M. 1970. Food intake, nitrogen, and energy balance in Polish weight lifters during training Four Powerful Secrets to Physique Perfectioncamp. Nutrition Metabolism, 12: 259-274 .
2.Lemon PWR, MacDougall JD, Tarnopolsky MA, and Atkinson SA. 1990. Effect of dietary protein and body building exercise on muscle mass and strength gains. ” Canadian Journal of Sports Science, 15: 14 . Also: Tarnop-olsky MA, Lemon PWR, MacDougall JD, and Atkinson SA. Effect of body building exercise on protein require-ments.” Canadian Journal of Sports Science, 15: 22 .
3. Crist DM. 1991. Growth hormone synergism . DMC Health Sciences, Al-buquerque.